Good Causes + Social Innovators + Pitch Stage =
Maximum Social Impact
A Vision for Social Innovation in Northeast Ohio
- Five local nonprofits receive cash awards based on audience response;
- Dan Pallotta — innovation expert, social entrepreneur and national presenter at TED2013 — busts myths and challenges the status quo undermining nonprofits
Social Venture Partners Hosts Showcase of Social Innovation
April 10, 2013
CLEVELAND – Social Venture Partners (SVP) – the philanthropic venture fund that supports nonprofit organizations in Cuyahoga County, Ohio – hosted bigBANG! 2013 on Wednesday, April 10 at CSU’s Student Center. 260 people from local nonprofits and businesses, as well as entrepreneurs, funders and thought leaders from throughout greater Cleveland, listened to Fast Pitch presentations from eight innovative Northeast Ohio nonprofits. They shared their own ideas and social innovations during two networking receptions, and benefited from the insights of innovation expert and myth buster, Dan Pallotta, whose provocative keynote sparked a thoughtful consideration of the challenges, constraints, and revolutionary opportunities facing nonprofits.
Cash prizes worth $17,000 were awarded by the sponsors. Doreen and Dick Cahoon sponsored Dan Pallotta, The Nord Family Foundation provided $10,000 for the three Most Compelling Presentations, Consolidated Graphics Group served as print sponsor, Fathom Online Marketing sponsored the Coaches’ Award for $2,000, and Chann Fowler-Spellman and Ed Spellman sponsored the “I Would Volunteer Award” for $5,000. The Gund Foundation served as a general sponsor of bigBANG!
The audience evaluated eight Fast Pitch presentations from a wide range of nonprofits including five SVP semi-finalists vying for the 2013 SVP grantee slot. Three organizations received the audience vote for Most Compelling Presentation.
- Senior Transportation Connection, which enhances the independence of older adults in Cuyahoga County by providing accessible, affordable, and high quality transportation, received First Place in this category and a monetary award of $6,000.
- First Runner-up and recipient of $2,500 was City Year Cleveland, which seeks to dramatically increase Cleveland’s high school graduation pipeline by organizing teams of well-trained tutors and mentors who intervene to get at-risk students back on track.
- EDWINS Restaurant and Leadership Institute received $1,500 as Second Runner-up. EDWINS gives incarcerated adults opportunities to learn skilled trades in the culinary arts, preparing them for successful re-entry and long-term independence through careers in restaurants.
The other Fast Pitch presenters included:
Drink Local, Drink Tap — which raises awareness about water issues both locally and globally — was voted the organization the audience would most likely volunteer for. It was also honored with the Sustainability Award and a one-year membership in the Corporate Sustainability Roundtable donated by the Cleveland State University Monte Ahuja Business School.
The Fast Pitch coaches honored Jim Sheehan of the Ohio City Bicycle Co-op with the Coaches’ Award for the most improved presenter.
During both the Networking and Dessert Receptions, attendees peppered Fast Pitch presenters with questions, discussed their ideas about social innovation with one another, and had opportunities to learn first-hand what the various Fast Pitch presenters do for their clients.
National nonprofit expert and recent presenter at the national TED2013, Dan Pallotta busted myths, questioned the status quo, and exposed the different “rule books” that unfairly apply to for-profits and nonprofits. He argued that the expression “think outside the box” pays “lip service to the idea of transformation” while actually trapping us within the very box we seek to escape. He stressed that the public’s recurring question “What percentage of my donation goes to the cause versus the overhead?” deludes us into thinking that the overhead is not part of the cause, and forces nonprofits to forego the very approaches they need to succeed.
Pallotta reminded nonprofit leaders they won’t want their epitaph to say, “We kept the overhead low.” Though playful, his point clearly resonated with the crowd. He urged the audience not to “confuse frugality with morality” and to get out of the box in order to change the system and re-educate the public on what it takes to empower nonprofits to solve endemic problems.
Randell McShepard, Vice President of Public Affairs for RPM International moderated the event.
SVP’s Executive Director Linda Springer described SVP’s mission of engaged philanthropy in Cleveland and of unleashing the potential of both its grantees and individual partner-donors. Following bigBANG!, SVP Partners will select the one nonprofit that will be its Investee for the next several years to receive cash grants of $15,000 annually and volunteer consulting. Springer encouraged the audience to surround itself “with new thinking and diverse ideas” and to “become leaders of innovation.”
About Social Venture Partners
SVP is the largest network of engaged donors in the world. It builds powerful relationships among people and organizations committed to changing our world. Through collective power, it helps individuals make a greater impact with their giving. It funds and strengthens nonprofits and equips the community to tackle its greatest social challenges.
SVP goes beyond philanthropy: Together, we unleash potential.
SVP Cleveland is a 501(c)3 grant-making public charity and an affiliate of Social Venture Partners, the largest network of engaged donors in the world.
Anyone interested in membership may visit www.csvp.org or call Linda Springer at (216) 231-2300.